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English Reduplication

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English Reduplication

Postby annis » Fri Aug 04, 2006 4:49 pm

Some accidental gleanings from my study of Gunctional Grammar...

Students of Greek will of course be familiar with syllabic reduplication, used to form perfect stems, as well as some present and aorist stems. It's a major feature of Sanskrit for the same roles, as well as a few intensives, and even Latin retains traces of it in the perfect.

Lots of languages reduplicate, not just initially, but sometimes internal or final syllables get the doubling (there are a few of the later in Greek). But reduplication can refer to any phonetic repeat, and this includes repetition of the same word. In Indonesian orang orang is a plural, "people." Classical Chinese uses full word reduplication for mild emphasis.

I had never thought of this before, but English has reduplication, too. Linguists call it "contrastive." It's most often used to indicate that word is being used in its prototypical sense:

"It's tuna salad, not salad-salad."
"You went out with a friend? Friend-friend or euphemism friend?"
"She's a PhD, not a doctor-doctor."

(Note to non-native speakers — the first word in the pair gets the stress.)

The selection can be somewhat context-dependent. For example, "I need a drink-drink" may mean one thing in a bar and another in a diner in the presence of a nephew giving himself a milkshake brain-freeze.

English can even reduplicate entire phrases this way, "do you like-him like him?" This probably says something fundamental about language, though I'm not sure what.
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Postby PhilipF » Fri Aug 04, 2006 5:07 pm

The most extreme example of reduplication in English that I have seen is the phrase which contains; "had had had had had had had" and yet makes perfect sense in context;

Gerald had had 'had had', while Arthur had had 'had'. 'Had had' had had the teacher's approval.'

There is a version of it here:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/h2g2/A338825
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Re: English Reduplication

Postby cdm2003 » Fri Aug 04, 2006 6:17 pm

annis wrote:"She's a PhD, not a doctor-doctor."


I find this stuff neat. The fun thing about it is that the reduplication, or contrasting, can be done by simply repeating the reduplication (reduplicating the reduplication? :shock: ) with a change in emphasis and perhaps a touch of body language to add a comic element.

E.g., Your friend asks if you'd like a glass of iced-tea and you respond, "I don't want a drink-drink [slight emphasis on the first "drink," perhaps accompanied by a look of mild frustration], but a drink-drink! [heavy emphasis on the first drink accompanied by a wink or a charade of holding a beer bottle up to your lips]."

I think it only works with synonyms (i.e., "drink" meaning anything you imbibe and "drink" meaning alcohol), but perhaps that's just because I can't think of another example off the top of my head.

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Postby GlottalGreekGeek » Fri Aug 04, 2006 6:34 pm

Sometimes it's just to exaggerate a point - such as "I saw a big BIG truck drive by our house."

Speaking of size, do phrases such as "teensy weensy" and "itsy bitsy" count as reduplication?
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Re: English Reduplication

Postby Bert » Fri Aug 04, 2006 11:43 pm

cdm2003 wrote: The fun thing about it is that the reduplication, or contrasting, can be done by simply repeating the reduplication (reduplicating the reduplication? :shock: )

The first time I heard the word reduplication I found it a strang word.
I would have thought that duplication would be the proper term unless you duplicate again, then it can be called REduplication.
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Postby annis » Sat Aug 05, 2006 1:40 pm

PhilipF wrote:Gerald had had 'had had', while Arthur had had 'had'. 'Had had' had had the teacher's approval.'


Well, I'd say this is a case of polysemy leading to duplication, rather than reduplication where the doubled constituents mean the same thing. Here 'had' is doing two different jobs.
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Postby annis » Sat Aug 05, 2006 1:46 pm

GlottalGreekGeek wrote:Sometimes it's just to exaggerate a point - such as "I saw a big BIG truck drive by our house."


I'm not sure I'd classify this as reduplication. I parse it as "a big, big truck" rather like "a big, yellow truck." Certainly this sort of emphatic doubling could lead to reduplication historically, but the prosody of your example is different from the "salad salad" model.
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Postby Kopio » Sat Aug 05, 2006 2:52 pm

I do this a lot thanks to the wonderful movie Shrek.

Someone will ask me, "Really?"

And I will reply, "Really really."

That's the only instance I can think of off the top of my head.
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Postby annis » Sat Aug 05, 2006 3:06 pm

Kopio wrote:And I will reply, "Really really."


I don't recall this from the film. Which word is accented more?
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Postby Kopio » Sat Aug 05, 2006 3:13 pm

annis wrote:I don't recall this from the film. Which word is accented more?


I think the first word was....but it's been a while since I saw it. My grandson loved that movie, and watched it probably 40+ times before he moved on to something else.

If I remember right Donkey asks, "Really" and Shrek replies, "Really really." That and "Donkey, I'm warning you" and "Spanked bottom Donkey." are my three favorite quotes from the movie. My grandson would crack up whenever I threatened him with either of the latter! The great thing is it usually got him behaving again.

While I was typing this I thought of another one which I will use to close.....

Bye bye,

-Matt
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Postby Michaelyus » Sat Aug 05, 2006 4:30 pm

In Modern Chinese you have reduplication for emphasis too:
Ni3 yong3 yong3 bu hui4 de = You eternal(ly) eternal(ly) not able [nominalising particle].

Sometimes it is for diminution or a "cute" connotation:
Ni3 zhuo4 bing1 xiang1 chou4 chou4 le0. = You make ice box (fridge) smelly smelly [perfective particle].


English "baby talk" makes use of reduplication too.
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Postby Kopio » Sat Aug 05, 2006 4:51 pm

It should be noted that some American Indian Languages use this sort of reduplication too. In Washington State we have a city named "Walla Walla", which means "Water Water"...it is along the Snake river and water is very plentiful. Hebrew does this a ton verbally for emphasis. Take a look at Esther 4:16 for an example.
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Postby hyptia » Sat Aug 05, 2006 6:16 pm

PhilipF wrote:Gerald had had 'had had', while Arthur had had 'had'. 'Had had' had had the teacher's approval.'

By shuffling the word order, it's even possible to put all the "had"s together:

Gerald, while Arthur had had 'had', had had 'had had'. 'Had had' had had the teacher's approval.
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Postby edonnelly » Sat Aug 05, 2006 10:38 pm

What do you think about "funny funny, or funny strange?"

I like it, but I don't like it like it.
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Postby annis » Sat Aug 05, 2006 11:32 pm

edonnelly wrote:What do you think about "funny funny, or funny strange?"


One I've used often.

It also sent me into the classical linguistic tailspin — in thinking "intuitively" about my native language, I've worked over variations so long that now they all sound correct. For me, I think I'm morely likely to use (and hear), "funny funny or strange funny," but I think either would go unremarked by native speakers (ignoring Textkittens and other language fans, though).

I like it, but I don't like it like it.


Wow. To me that sounds almost like an intensive, rather than a prototype selection. How does it seem to you?
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Postby annis » Sat Aug 05, 2006 11:38 pm

I couldn't leave the 'had had's out of my drug-addled mind today (sinus medication), and started to wonder what would happen if English marked the past perfect with reduplicated past passive participles.

In reality, the 'had had' case is an accident, because 'had' is both the auxiliary verb for the past perfect as well as being the p.p.p. of "have." So "I had seen it" : "I had had it."

But let's reanalyze that for fun.

*I seen seen the movie = "I had seen the movie."
*after I flown flown to Rome = "after I had flown to Rome."
*he slept slept through the night = "he had slept through the night."

Then I started to wonder what we'd do with p.p.p.s with more than one syllable. I picked "I had understood it." My version of the reduplicated model was a surprise to me. Rather than give it here, I'll ask what other people came up with first — don't worry at it, just let us know the first one that pops into your head.
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Postby GlottalGreekGeek » Sun Aug 06, 2006 12:48 am

My first reaction would be to say "I understood stood it," though I don't know what the logic behind this is.
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Postby annis » Sun Aug 06, 2006 12:55 am

And what about for a latinate root, say, "I had conjugated the auxiliary"?
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Postby Hu » Sun Aug 06, 2006 1:50 am

My instinct would be to say "I under-understood it". Same thing with "conjugate": "I con-conjugated the auxiliary.".
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Postby Bert » Sun Aug 06, 2006 2:08 am

I would go for coconjugate and undunderstood.
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Postby Kopio » Sun Aug 06, 2006 4:21 am

You guys are all crazy crazy!
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Postby Bert » Sun Aug 06, 2006 10:02 am

You mean peculiar crazy or crazy crazy?
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Postby PhilipF » Sun Aug 06, 2006 10:49 am

In English we may have to cope with 'had had' but I can't figure out how;

'Malo malo malo malo' can mean
'I would rather be in a ship at sea than a naughty boy in an apple tree.'

From Latin tongue twisters here
http://www.uebersetzung.at/twister/la.htm
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Postby annis » Mon Aug 07, 2006 12:59 am

GlottalGreekGeek wrote:My first reaction would be to say "I understood stood it,"


That was my choice, too.
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Postby cdm2003 » Mon Aug 07, 2006 2:11 am

edonnelly wrote:What do you think about "funny funny, or funny strange?"


Ha!! :D I recall this from the old American TV show WKRP in Cincinnati. I think it's Les who asks Herb, "Is he 'funny, funny' or 'funny, strange'?"

Good times...ah...good times.
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